Monitoring processes, coordinating operators and hitting annual performance targets are just a selection of the ever-changing challenges faced by operations managers. There’s a lot to think about, and without the right tools, these challenges can quickly cause issues. But there are Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) systems available to make life a lot easier. Andy Graham, Solutions Manager, SolutionsPT, discusses a few of the top influencers. 

Effective Time Management
The responsibilities of the operations manager are ever-changing and forever growing! Everything from managing end-to-end production processes, to overseeing quality control, all fall under the remit of his or her role. But, it’s safe to say the most valuable resource in an operation manager’s arsenal isn’t anything physically used on the production line – it’s time. 

OEE systems are generally simple and straightforward. They’re easy to use and offer a  practicality which is a huge time-saver. For instance, consider the delays that take place throughout the whole production process because you don’t have access to real-time data? By implementing OEE systems, operators aren’t left waiting around for the vital information they need to do get on with their roles. An OEE system provides accurate real-time data from machines so tasks can be completed at a much faster rate. And, it goes without saying that the quicker the task, the more time you have for other key work! 

Coordinate Shifts and Changeovers
The people within your plant are as crucial to its success as any system, software or piece of equipment. Just like with machinery, you’ll need to make sure your people are managed effectively to ensure problems don’t occur. 

Take something as simple as shift management. It’s your responsibility to make sure shifts and changeovers are coordinated in the most efficient way. Is there planned downtime on the horizon? Have shifts been altered to reflect that? OEE tools make managing shifts easy – it’s as simple as that. They provide operations managers with all of the key information they need, including key details – like planned stops. This data can offer insight into where time is lost and how changeovers can best be optimised. 

Make changes based on these findings and your changeovers will run like a well-oiled machine. 

Informed Business Decisions
It’s always difficult to make decisions based on guesswork and the direction of the wind! To make reliable decisions that will resolve common issues (like planned stops taking too long and defective products), operations managers need accurate data in real-time. 

OEE systems allow you to better evaluate and analyse information so it can be used to support key business decisions. So, it goes without saying that the more data available, the easier it is to identify patterns and possible issues harming overall efficiency. 

More Accurate Competitor Comparisons
It’s always important to know what your rivals are doing. McDonald’s keeps tabs on KFC just like Nike has a watchful eye on Adidas. So, how is it best to monitor how, and what, your competitors are doing? With effectively tracked metrics, you can benchmark with competitors and gain a better understanding of how you stack up against them. 

OEE scores provide the insight you need to drive the organisation forwards. They can highlight what’s improved and how far behind or ahead of the industry average you currently are. The OEE software offers greater accuracy and with this level of detail, you can more easily make informed decisions that make sure you’re ahead of the curve, and the competition!

Optimised Production Process
Issues with the production process can result in missed targets, lost profits and lost customers. The aim is, of course, for production output to align with previously set out targets, although this is not always easy.  

To diagnose potential issues and develop solutions that will lead to the most positive results, you need to (somehow) find the time to optimise the entire production process. Only by doing this can you reduce production losses and fix problematic bottlenecks. 

Monitoring process performance is a whole lot easier when you’re using OEE software. The software will improve asset utilisation and empower you to create the solutions that will ensure you’re getting the most from equipment. Whether your machines are brand-new or legacy hardware.

The process is easier to ‘tinker with’ when working proactively, rather than reactively. Being able to anticipate unplanned downtime, for example, means there’s less of a burden on production and you can take the necessary steps to ensure that targets aren’t missed. 

Operations managers are under an intense strain to get the most from the plant-floor. Without accurate data being available in real-time this process becomes complicated and time consuming. The right OEE software brings with it more insight and provides a path to smarter and more efficient operations.